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Thread: Planning new rig, many things still to be sorted out... your experience could help...

  1. #1
    GregWare
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    Planning new rig, many things still to be sorted out... your experience could help...

    Hello everybody,

    I’m planning on building a new system; my aim is to get a very silent system, with amazing looks.
    I don’t intend to do much overclocking, just a bit, as long as I can keep the noise down.
    I didn’t use watercooling up to now, except running a corsair H70 on the latest system I build, but as it’s a closed circuit, I don’t count it as real experience in the watercooling world
    I’ll need quite some performance from the GPUs, as I run a 30” screen in 2560x1600 on one GPU and two 20” screens tilted to offer 1200x1600 on the second GPU to have a nice desktop surface of 4960x1600, so I planned one 360 radiator per GPU, maybe too much or not enough…
    I will probably later on add a 3rd GPU, and obviously it could require adding another radiator in the setup, but this is not in scope at the moment.
    I’ve been looking out in the various forums, wikis and other sources of information I could find to plan the setup, but now comes the time to ask you guys what you think about it and to provide insight on some choices to be made as you have experience in these fields…

    Here’s the list of equipment for the new rig;
    (I already ordered the Case, the front panel and USB3 internal adapter, and already have the caviar Black HDDs as well as one of the HD6970 GPUs, the rest will be ordered in phases during the construction progress)

    Case:
    Ascension CYO (Choose Your Own)
    - Side 3: Triple Original Panel
    - Side 2: Big Window Panel
    - Motherboard Tray: XL-ATX
    - Side 1: Big Window Panel
    - Window Etching: None
    - Front Panel Type: Trinity
    - Front Panel Fan Spacing: 15mm
    - Finish: Mirror Black
    - Back Panel Type: Horizon
    - Back Panel Fan Spacing: 15mm
    - Acrylic Color: Smoked Grey
    - changing the switches with Lamptron Illuminated Anti-Vandal Switch - Red/Black
    - changing the leds with Lamptron Red/Black tailed LED

    PSU:
    CoolerMaster Silent Pro M1000, 1000Watt, ATX

    Motherboard:
    Asus Rampage IV Extreme, S2011, X79, 8xDDR3, ATX

    Processor:
    Intel Core i7-3960X, 3.30GHz, 15MB, S2011

    Memory:
    Corsair Vengeance R 32GB(4x8GB) DDR3 1866MHz CL10

    GPU:
    2x Asus Radeon HD 6970, 2GB

    HDD:
    2x SSD raid0: Corsair Force GT 120GB 2.5" SATA3 (for OS partition and boot)
    2x HDD raid0: WD Caviar Black 1TB, 7200rpm, 64MB, SATA 6Gb/s (already have)(for temp, pagefile and data partitions)

    BD drive :
    Lite-On IHBS112-37 BD-RW 12X

    Fan controller:
    NZXT Sentry LX Multipanel, Zwart

    Front panel:
    Icy Box MultiReader 5,25" 6xCard 3xUSB 2xUSB3.0 1xeSata (b)
    in addition: USB 3.0 20-Pin Header to USB 3.0 Type-A Short Cable – found at usb.brando.com
    (to connect USB3 cables directly to MB)

    WC reservoir:
    Koolance RP-452X2 Dual 5.25in Reservoir for 1-2 PMP-450/S Pumps, Rev.1.3 (with attached pumps listed below)
    Used in parallel mode
    Added 2x Dual Ultra Bright LED Cable, 4-pin, White
    with Fittings:
    2x Koolance Nozzle Pair, Compression [For ID: 13mm (1/2in), OD: 19mm (3/4in)]

    WC Pumps: 2x Koolance Pump, PMP-450 [13mm, 1/2in ID]

    WC CPU block:
    EK-Supreme HF - Acetal+Nickel
    with Fittings:
    2x EK-PSC Fitting 13mm - G1/4 Black

    WC MB Kit:
    EK-FB KIT RE4 - Acetal+EN (Nickel)
    with Fittings:
    4x EK-PSC Fitting 13mm - G1/4 Black
    2x EK-PSC Adapter 45° G1/4 Black
    (required to space out the fittings for installation of GPU in 1st PCIe slot)

    WC GPU block:
    2x EK-FC6970 Acetal + Nickel
    with Fittings:
    4x EK-PSC Fitting 13mm - G1/4 Black
    4x EK-PLUG G1/4 (to reused from radiators when isntalled)
    Connector:
    Koolance Dual VID Connector, *Black* Adjustable 1 Slot Spacing (if used, depending on loop setup)

    WC tubing:
    EK TUBE Clearflex 13/19
    With 2x Antimicrobial Silver Strip for Coils (12 inch) (SW-1001-12in) (one per loop)

    WC radiators:
    3x EK-CoolStream RAD XT (360)
    1x EK-CoolStream RAD XT (120) – (maybe, depending on CPU/MB loop flow as noted later)

    WC coolant:
    Feser Aqua - Ultra Pure Water or equivalent (no dye, distilled water)

    Fans:
    47x Akasa AK-274CR-4RDS Quiet Red LED Fan, 120mm
    Front panel (9x 12cm holes, used for 3x360 radiators)
    Per 360 radiator placed on front panel inside the case: (12 fans per radiator, 3 rads, total 36 fans required)
    - 3 towards chassis, pulling air from outside
    - 3 without the fans, only housing and leds, acting as shrouds
    - radiator,
    - 3 without the fans, only housing and leds, acting as shrouds
    - 3 inside the case, pushing air inside the case
    Grills: still searching for grills with dust filter you can take out without unmounting the whole setup
    With anti-vibration gaskets towards the chassis for case contact
    Top panel (3x 12cm holes)
    3 required for top panel, pushing air outside
    Grills: Black 120mm Steel Mesh Fan Grill / Filter (1.5mm Hole)
    Back panel (4x 12cm in bottom, 1x12cm on top near MB)
    For the 120 radiator placed on back panel inside the case: (4 fans)
    - 1 inside the case, pulling air from the case towards the radiator
    - 1 without the fans, only housing and leds, acting as shroud
    - radiator,
    - 1 without the fans, only housing and leds, acting as shroud
    - 1 towards the chassis, pushing air outside the case
    Grill: 120MM Chrome Grill - Black
    4 required for back panel, pushing air outside
    Grills: 120MM Chrome Grill – Black



    now the fun part, the WC loops configuration;
    - MB/CPU loop;
    o Scenario 1:
    From pump/reservoir combo
    To GPU1
    Use a link connection to GPU2
    To 360 radiator1
    To 360 radiator2
    Back to reservoir/pump combo
    The advantage of scenario1 is to have less tubing, but the heat of GPU1 is transferred to GPU2 in the process

    o Scenario 2:
    From pump/reservoir combo
    To GPU1
    To 360 radiator1
    To GPU2
    To 360 radiator2
    Back to reservoir/pump combo
    The advantage is to cool the liquid between each GPU, but there are more tubes required

    - GPU loop;
    o Scenario 1:
    From pump/reservoir combo
    To MB block1
    To MB block2
    To CPU
    To 360 radiator
    Back to reservoir/pump combo
    Advantage is less tubing, but the liquid goes into the CPU block with the warmth of the MB blocks, or the order should be reversed, but I take a wild guess the CPU is warmer than the MB cooled parts, so it should be better to first go through the less warm blocks…

    o Scenario 2:
    From pump/reservoir combo
    To MB block1
    To MB block2
    To 120 radiator on back panel
    To CPU
    To 360 radiator on front panel
    Back to reservoir/pump combo
    The advantage here is to cool the liquid after passing the MB before sending it to the CPU block, is a 120 rad enough for this?





    And now the big questions;
    - Does anybody see something missing or wrong in the setup?
    - Should I add additional reservoirs in the chassis next to the one used for the front bay?
    o If I add a second reservoir and there is a leak, which one will get empty first? So basically can I then rely on the level seen in the bay reservoir without looking in the other more hidden reservoir within the case?
    o Should the additional reservoir be in front of the pump in the loop or behind? Does it matter?
    - What is the best loop solution for both CPU/MB loop and GPU loop based on above scenarios? Or should I review completely the scenarios?
    - Is one 360 radiator enough for a CPU cooling?
    - Will a 1000W PSU be enough? From some calculators on the web, it should with some margin, but without taking in account the Water Cooling system…
    - Does it make any sense in having radiators between the blocks in the loops or is the order with a loop not really important?
    - Should I add secondary pumps on each loop for redundancy?
    - Or should I all together just use one loop? I’ve seen the threat of dual vs single loops, so not sure to the best way to go anymore…

    Your help/comments will be greatly appreciated ;-)
    Greg
    Last edited by GregWare; 12-02-2011 at 08:37 AM. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
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    First thing that seems wrong here. You mentioned "(...) my aim is to get a very silent system(...)", and then I read your list to the point you say 47 (forty-seven) 120mm fans.. are you serious? This is NOT going to be quiet. You need to greatly reduce amount of fans.
    As for rads, and how much you need.
    For a CPU, a 360 radiator is enough, it beats all pseudo water cooling kits (corsair), and air coolers. One low FPI rad, with decent three fans (forget about push-pull since it doubles amount of fans for relatively small gain), low RPM, will handle your cpu easily.
    As for GPU, it has much better tolerance for temperature than CPU. There are tests that show that single 120mm rad gives pretty decent results on a gtx580 video card (much better than stock cooler). Water can be lot warmer in this loop, and gpus will still have decent temps. I'd say, you could easily cool your two graphic cards with single 360 radiator loop. Adding more rads will only lower temperaturs, that will be already MUCH better than stock, but setup will be louder (more fans).

    As for pumps, remember they also create some noise. If you went overkill with radiators, you can as well put everything under one loop, and one pump. Just it is little bit less efficient, since gpus heat up water for cpu, and you need to cool everything harder, because cpu is more demanding.
    I'd say for two loops: cpu - 360 rad, gpus - 360 rad is easily enough. For one loop, I would use three 360 radiators, and one pump.
    All other blocks (motherboard, ram), than cpu and gpu, generate very low heat in comparison. You don't need to watercool these components, people do that mostly for looks. You can connect these blocks either to cpu or gpu loop, added heat is so minimal it pretty much doesn't make difference (no extra rads are needed). At most you lose couple of degrees.

    But if you want quiet setup, reduce amount of fans to minimum. Even if you use three 360 rads (overkill), that is 9 (nine) fans. This case is huge, so for exhaust, you don't need fans. Fresh air goes through your radiators, inside to the case, and then passively comes out through all remaining vent holes. No extra fans are needed. Fact that interior of the case will be warmer makes no difference, you watercool everything anyway, so ambiet air inside has no affect on crucial components.
    9 fans on three rads, one fan in power supply, maybe one fan at mobo tray - that gives you total 10 fans. Still quite a lot for quiet setup, but far more reasonable than freakin 47(!)
    You know, fact that Mountan Mods case so many fan holes, doesn't mean you have to use all of them. They are optional.
    Last edited by aerial; 12-02-2011 at 11:13 AM.

  3. #3
    GregWare
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    ok, got the main message here, lower the amount of fans, and simplify to one loop would be good, indeed...

    I get that 47 seems absurd, I was also thinking that's nuts at a certain point, but I was hoping that they would be running so slow they would be quite silent, and also, from those, I planned to modify (empty) 18 to be used as shrouds for each side of the radiators...
    so I guess I can go for ordering 18, and transform 9 of those to become shrouds...
    I wonder if during the transformation I can keep the leds working, I'll have to try that out, would be nice...

    what I'm the most amazed is you say that push-pull is a small gain and could be forgotten, from what I was reading on various places, it seemed to be commonly set as base principle, but sure, if pushing alone will be enough, I'll only do that, perfect sense...

  4. #4
    Crunching For The Points! NKrader's Avatar
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    more fans = lower speed = quieter

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregWare View Post
    what I'm the most amazed is you say that push-pull is a small gain and could be forgotten, from what I was reading on various places, it seemed to be commonly set as base principle, but sure, if pushing alone will be enough, I'll only do that, perfect sense...
    Just look up detailed tests, what is real gain of getting push-pull configuration. Same with shrouds, it makes rad and fans thicker, so whole kit takes more space inside the case, and gain is also not that big. You gain 10% performance here, 15% there, but overall it is not always worth the hassle, and increased size. Vast majority of people use radiators with just one set of fans, and without shroud. If yo are not short on rad space inside your case, that you need to maximize peformance of that very limited rad you got there, then these things (push-pull, shrouds) may be worth it. But usually, if your setup is overkill by default, you will have great temps without any of it.
    In such large case, it would be better to add one extra rad with 3 fans, than actually play with shrouds and push-pull on other rads, that kind of performance gain proportions we are talking about.

  6. #6
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    I haven't yet read all of your post in detail, but wanted to make a couple of comments. First - congrats on doing your research. You obviously have been doing lots of reading and studying on what you want to accomplish.

    Aerial already covered the number of fans, but I'll add to that. While what NKRader says is true also, there is a point of diminishing return. You can easily run 2 GPUs on one triple radiator. A triple for each is overkill, but you've got plenty of room in that case. The beauty of a triple Rad for each GPU is you will be able to run fans at a fairly low speed to achieve your goal of low noise, but still with good cooling performance. You will also have plenty of RAD for adding another GPU down the road. No need for push pull in this scenario.

    I've been out of the "what's the best fan" loop for the last few months - so really don't know anything about the performance of the Akasa's on radiators. Hopefully you've researched this - just want to make sure you get the right fans since you will have so many. (I'm not saying these are bad - just that I don't know)


    I'll try to give you an answer to some of your questions:

    - Should I add additional reservoirs in the chassis next to the one used for the front bay? I wouldn't. If you're using bay reservoirs, then stick with them. There's no need to be redundant with a second reservoir. In fact, the more you add to your loop, the more you increase the chances of having a leak. If you're nervous about using a bay reservoir, go with a tube type (but lots of people use bay reservoirs with no problems).


    o If I add a second reservoir and there is a leak, which one will get empty first? So basically can I then rely on the level seen in the bay reservoir without looking in the other more hidden reservoir within the case? I applaud your thoroughness, but you may be overthinking things. I can't imagine a scenario where just the second reservoir would drain (but I'm tired, so maybe I'm missing something). If you develop a serious leak, your second reservoir isn't going to help much. Once you've leaktested and setup your system, you'll be filling the reservoir - and will be able to go weeks/months without adding water to it. Again - I don't think a second reservoir is needed.


    o Should the additional reservoir be in front of the pump in the loop or behind? Does it matter? Don't overcomplicate what is already a complex build - no need for a second reservoir (I'm not trying to be difficult - maybe you can say why you want the second reservoir).


    - What is the best loop solution for both CPU/MB loop and GPU loop based on above scenarios? Or should I review completely the scenarios?Since you have excess radiator capacity, you can set it up anyway you want with minimal/no impact on overall cooling performance. You might also experiment with various combinations to give you the best routing for your tubing. IF you are going to use two 360 Rads for your GPUs, I'd be tempted to put the MB blocks on that loop, since you have excess capacity.

    Given you have chosen such a monster case, I would not do less than two loops. I did 3 in my last Mountain Mods build, and it was the regular sized cube. CPU on a 360 rad, 3x285GTX on a second360, and the mobo blocks on a 240 rad. Was 3 loops overkill? Sure was, but it was fun. Also gave lots of flexibility to switch things around. Did the extra pump add some noise? Probably, but I found the system to be very quiet, 11 S-Flex E fans running at medium/low speed 24/7.

    - Is one 360 radiator enough for a CPU cooling?
    Yes, plenty. With the caveat that I haven't seen any cooling results with the new X79 platform, but can't believe it would be an issue. You're only going to push the CPU so far, regardless of how much liquid cooling capacity you have.


    - Will a 1000W PSU be enough? From some calculators on the web, it should with some margin, but without taking in account the Water Cooling system…It should be fine. If you want to double check everything, have a look here. You'll even see options to include your water cooling components.


    - Does it make any sense in having radiators between the blocks in the loops or is the order with a loop not really important?No. Loop order is not critical, other than it is highly recommended to have the reservoir before the pump. To put it simply - the water passes far to quickly through the loop for a radiator between blocks to have a significant impact, and the temperature in the loop will essentially reach equilibrium.

    - Should I add secondary pumps on each loop for redundancy?Personal choice, but I'd say NO. Keep it simple. Concentrate on getting the basics right, take your time doing the build, leak test thoroughly and monitor it. (I'm not totally against redundant pumps, but thermal protection on most components is such that you will see a shut down if the pump stops and your loop overheats).


    - Or should I all together just use one loop? I’ve seen the threat of dual vs single loops, so not sure to the best way to go anymore… You can easily put these components all in one loop. Given the case you've chosen, and apparent lack of budget constraint, I see no reason not to go with at least two loops. That's just my opinion - doesn't mean it's right. You have to go with what you're comfortable with. It's also a little easier to add a GPU later if you have them on a separate loop.


    Have you considered how you will drain the system?


    Whew ... haven't typed this much in a while. Holler if you have questions.

  7. #7
    Chasing After Diety
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    sunbeam pwm controller, allows you to make all your rad fans on pwm.

    so that means as its on idle, they are all low, as your gaming with the gun shots and stuff blowing up, the fans are on high.

    http://s125.photobucket.com/albums/p...ent=MOL001.mp4


    Days of old where we had to set and forget fans are GONE.. they been gone.
    If your still on that model, you need to upgrade, as this is the route to go if you want quiet.
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  8. #8
    GregWare
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    Quote Originally Posted by shazza View Post
    I haven't yet read all of your post in detail, but wanted to make a couple of comments. First - congrats on doing your research. You obviously have been doing lots of reading and studying on what you want to accomplish.
    Thanks, I tend to believe that when you want to do something like this, you've got to do it well or not even begin with it, and most part of doing it well is by planning carefully to avoid wasting of time and ressources...

    Quote Originally Posted by shazza View Post
    I've been out of the "what's the best fan" loop for the last few months - so really don't know anything about the performance of the Akasa's on radiators. Hopefully you've researched this - just want to make sure you get the right fans since you will have so many. (I'm not saying these are bad - just that I don't know)
    well, I did some research and also happen to have some of those in another older system, they are not performing too bad, but of course I'm always ready to check out alternatives...
    main reasons for those is basically the red led glow who is quite nice, and they are 800rpm, so already very silent, and the fan controller unit I checked out is by default when temp is fine running the fans at 50%, so this would mean having fans at 400rpm unless the temp increase and the controller triggers them to go higher (I'll place the temp sensor within the fins of the rad to have accurate reading of the rad temp)

    thanks for the answers to my questions, I see some stuff more clearly now

    Quote Originally Posted by shazza View Post
    Have you considered how you will drain the system?
    well, I am thinking maybe using EK XTX rads instead of the XT versions, as they have a draining hole at the bottom, then I would simply run a tube from there to the side with a secure valve to allow me to drain the lot from the lowest point... did anybody here installed XTX rads from EK? are they worth the price difference?

    if not going with the XTX versions, I would have to do some fancy tubing to get the same result...

    Quote Originally Posted by shazza View Post
    Whew ... haven't typed this much in a while. Holler if you have questions.
    again, thanks for all the answers you provided, very good advise

  9. #9
    GregWare
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeKuh View Post
    sunbeam pwm controller, allows you to make all your rad fans on pwm.

    so that means as its on idle, they are all low, as your gaming with the gun shots and stuff blowing up, the fans are on high.

    http://s125.photobucket.com/albums/p...¤t=MOL001.mp4


    Days of old where we had to set and forget fans are GONE.. they been gone.
    If your still on that model, you need to upgrade, as this is the route to go if you want quiet.
    yep, I agree, I need a fan controller to have the fans running lower when their full blast isn't required...
    I stubled on this one; NZXT Sentry LX Multipanel, black
    I like the looks of it, and by using a 2 space 5"25 bays, it will nicely finish the front panel without requiring any blanking panels...
    if anybody has some other very nice front panels looking even better I'm open to suggestions, but this one is looking pretty good while doing the job...

  10. #10
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    PWM is the future if you want quiet...

    get higher powered fans.. less of them use PWM.

    and i dont trust NZXT... i dont care how great of a company they are...
    Get a SUNBEAM... they are proven reliabile with lots of years in use history.
    This is why most of my hardest driven controllers are sunbeam.
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  11. #11
    GregWare
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    Quote Originally Posted by NaeKuh View Post
    PWM is the future if you want quiet...

    get higher powered fans.. less of them use PWM.

    and i dont trust NZXT... i dont care how great of a company they are...
    Get a SUNBEAM... they are proven reliabile with lots of years in use history.
    This is why most of my hardest driven controllers are sunbeam.
    I can understand PWM is a nice thing, but I've been checking out the sunbeam website and been crawling the net to find a few answers, didn't got them so far, maybe you can give me some;
    - if I do get it properly, the motherboard sensors do provide the temperature, and thus the cooling requirements for each specific component monitored, passing the info to the sunbeam controller to cool down the temperature as required, right?
    - how do you "map" the temperature of a motherboard/gpu component to a specific fan channel of the controller?
    - hence, how do you make sure only the fans from the RAD cooling the CPU will be triggered to go faster when the CPU is getting higher temperature?
    - and also, how do you combine the information from the temp sensors of both graphic cards to trigger the fans on both rads cooling the GPUs since they are on the same loop?

    I want granularity on the speed of the fans down to each loop/rad so they are triggered to only go faster when these circuits are in need of more cooling
    that's why up to now the best solution seemed to be using a controller with a temp sensor on each circuit, put this temp sensor on each rad to have a circuit per rad and so all fans of a rad will turn at speed required to achieve the temp goal of the rad they are attached to...
    what I don't want is all fans of all rads going faster because the temp of one component is going up, there is no sense to have the fans of both rads on the GPU loop going faster when only the CPU loop need to go faster because the CPU got a few more degrees, that wouldn't be efficient in terms of noise reduction...

    of course, if the sunbeam PWM controllers provide me this granularity I seek, they would be nice, as it's always better to act on the temp of the component you want to cool then on the temp of the radiator who is cooling it...
    but, again, I don't see how the mapping is done, and that's crucial to me, so if you can let me know it would be great, maybe you can scan the manual and PM it to me?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregWare View Post
    - if I do get it properly, the motherboard sensors do provide the temperature, and thus the cooling requirements for each specific component monitored, passing the info to the sunbeam controller to cool down the temperature as required, right?
    - how do you "map" the temperature of a motherboard/gpu component to a specific fan channel of the controller?
    - hence, how do you make sure only the fans from the RAD cooling the CPU will be triggered to go faster when the CPU is getting higher temperature?
    - and also, how do you combine the information from the temp sensors of both graphic cards to trigger the fans on both rads cooling the GPUs since they are on the same loop?
    PWM also goes by processor load.
    I tend to set mine per load basis.. to control usage... you can set it up as temp, and have it go by motherboard cpu temp, however we all know how inaccurate those are when we have a cold water block on top of it.

    U map it though load. You can get pwm adapters for video cards to tie into your pwm controller and have those also go on load if your on multi loops.
    I have mine setup on 3 different channels on 3 different pwm controllers.
    The CPU has its own and its on Load basis... as load gets higher, the fans get higher... its based on load...
    The gpu the same... as the load gets higher, the fans ramp higher... if you want software controlled, you need to get a more expensive dedicated controller like a TMP-400, or the AquaComputers Aquero.
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